Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer reading

I have recently been reading 'grit: the power of passion and perseverance' by Angela Duckworth, which I have found both fascinating and persuasive.  Duckworth is a psychologist, interested in the differences between people who are talented but relatively low achievers compared with people who are high achievers.  One of the main messages of the book is that talent counts but effort counts twice.

Determination, persistence, constancy, tenacity, and focus, especially in the face of setbacks and challenges appear to have a much larger effect on what people achieve than natural talent or innate giftedness.

I wish I could say these were all things I possessed in abundance, but I do not think that is the case.  Nevertheless there is cause for hope as grit appears to increase with age.  And perhaps being more aware of the importance of these qualities helps to cultivate them more.

In parallel I have been reading the Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, which tells the story of a group of kind hearted friends who travel around rural 19th century England, making new friends and getting into various kinds of trouble.  It is quite good fun, but, in my opinion, not as well written as some of his later work such as Great Expectations.  Perhaps a case in point where passion and perseverance on a single goal over a long period of time can lead to great things.